Cara Therapeutics' opioid alternative could be a true game changer
- The most effective treatment for moderate-to-severe pain continues to be opioids, a class of drug that quells pain like nothing else, yet is highly addictive.
- Cara Therapeutics has developed a drug, CR845, which has shown promise in phase II for pain management without the potential for abuse and addiction.
- CR845 was effective as a treatment for post-surgical moderate-to-severe pain. At the same time, it did not appeal to patients looking for a recreational high in an abuse liability study.
More prescriptions are written for painkillers than for any other type of medication. Whatever kind of opioid is involved—morphine, heroin, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, etc.—the downside to what has proven to be the most effective form of pain management ever available to humans is addiction, and even death in worst-case scenarios.
Cara Therapeutics' CR845 is a small peptide drug that acts on the kappa receptors. Phase II trials involving more than 400 patients show that it is effective in managing peripheral pain, and that major side effects include facial tingling, numbness, dizziness, and fatigue.